During a Los Angeles DMV hearing, the burden is on the driver to prove that they were not intoxicated while driving at the time of the arrest. If an attorney has been hired on the case, then it is the job of the attorney to present a case that demonstrates that there was little or no blood alcohol content. This is completed through testimony, casting doubt on the credibility of the arresting officer’s report and any additional witnesses or documents that are necessary.
During the routine DMV hearing the DMV officer will determine whether there was reasonable suspcicion of the arresting officer to stop the driver, whether a blood alcohol content test was taken, and whether the results of that test were over .08. For most DMV hearings, the issues addressed will be these. However, when no BAC test was taken, the DMV hearing will follow an alternate path.
When there is a refusal, the officer will address the issues pertaining to the refusal. They will ask what the reasons were for refusing to take any of the tests offered and whether the person was read an admonishment of rights regarding the refusal.
Anytime a person has refused to take a BAC test, for any reason, the officer must read them an admonishment of rights verbatim. It informs the arrested person that refusing to cooperate and take a test may result in added penalties if they are convicted. If an admonishment is not read properly or at all to the arrested driver, the additional penalties may not be included with the final sentence.
The DMV hearing officer must determine whether there was a refusal, and if there was a refusal, if an admonishment was properly given. This will determine the proper standards in which they can suspend or restrict a license, and the appropriate length if found guilty. When there has not been a refusal, the DMV officer will not go into the issue of admonishment of rights. It is irrelevant.
For example, Daisy has been arrested for a DUI. She was stopped for not stopping before taking a right turn at a red light. Officers believed she may be intoxicated and asked to take a blood alcohol test. She agreed and allowed the officers to take her blood. During her DMV hearing, the officer questioned Daisy about the right turn at a red light. The officer assessed whether this was what had happened using Daisy’s testimony and the arresting officer’s report. After having made a determination, she asked about the BAC test, which Daisy agreed to having taken. The officer ruled out any refusal issues, and then determined the outcome of the blood test.
In comparison, lets say that Daisy had refused to take the BAC test. The DMV hearing officer would still address the issue of whether Daisy had in fact failed to stop at a red light before making a right turn, and whether this constituted enough probable cause for the officer to stop her. However, the DMV officer will then ask why Daisy had refused to take the BAC test, and whether she had properly been read an admonishment of rights. Even if Daisy had attempted to take both tests, but was unable to do so, it will be considered a refusal.
When there is a refusal there are different issues to be addressed at a DMV hearing. There are also additional consequences to be considered. Many people believe that the DMV hearing is not as significant as the criminal court proceedings, but that is in fact not true. There should be a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer representing a person’s rights and interests at both types of hearings in order to keep penalties at a minimum and increase any chances of the case being dismissed.